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Legends and Lore of Strawberries:
In provincial France, strawberries
were regarded as an aphrodisiac. Newlyweds were served always served
a cold strawberry soup.
The strawberry was a symbol for Venus,
the Goddess of Love, because of its heart shapes and red color.
Have you every eaten a double
strawberry? Legend says that if you break the strawberry in half and
share it with a member of the opposite sex, you will soon fall in
love with each other.
In parts of Bavaria, people still
practice the annual rite each spring of tying small baskets of wild
strawberries to the horns of their cattle as an offering to elves.
They believe that the elves, who are passionately fond of
strawberries, will help to produce healthy calves and abundance of
milk in return.
Queen Anne Boleyn, the second wife of
Henry VIII had a strawberry shaped birthmark on her neck, which some
claimed proved she was a witch.
To symbolize perfection and
righteousness, medieval stone masons carved strawberry designs on
altars and around the tops of pillars in churches and cathedrals.
The strawberry, a member of the rose
family, is unique in that it is the only fruit with seeds on the
outside rather than the inside. Many medicinal uses were claimed for
the wild strawberry, its leaves and root.
Did you know that the American Indians were actually cultivating
strawberries in 1643? They crushed the strawberries into a mortar, mixing
them with meal to make a strawberry bread.
By the 1800s, commercial strawberries had been cultivated. Strawberries are
the leading small fruit crop in the United States today. They are farmed
from Florida to Alaska, with the largest strawberry-growing centers located
in California, Washington, Oregon, Louisiana, Michigan, and Tennessee.
Favorite Strawberry Recipes:
Assorted Berry Salad with Sauvignon Blanc
Blended Fresh Strawberry Margarita
Boccone Dolce (Sweet Mouthful)
Chilled Strawberry-Mint Soup
Fresh Strawberry Granita
Fresh Strawberry Sorbet
Homemade Strawberry Ice Cream
Maple Sauce for Strawberries
Spinach Salad With Strawberries
Strawberry Agua Fresca
Strawberries Dipped In Chocolate
Strawberries in Lemon-Lavender Syrup
Strawberries with Champagne and Roses
Strawberry Custard Tart
Stuffed Roasted Strawberries
Zabaglione with Fresh Berries
What’s the first thought that comes to your mind, when you think of strawberries?
It is probably of a mouth-watering dessert of strawberries mixed with fresh cream? There’s nothing that says "Hello Summer"
quite like eating a juicy vine-ripened strawberry that has been ripened to perfection in the early summer sunshine. Strawberries serve more than
just fulfilling the sweet tooth. It is packed with hordes of health benefits, making a nutritious fruit for mind and body.
Selecting and Purchasing Strawberries:
Naturally the best strawberries are the ones you pick yourself from your
local strawberry fields or purchase from your local produce stands and/or
In the stores, always choose locally grown
strawberries during the harvesting season (they are sweeter and juicier than
those that are bred for shipment). Remember, your local strawberry season
only lasts 3 to 4 weeks.
When purchasing berries from the grocery store, shop with your nose. Always
pick the plumpest and most fragrant berries. They should be firm, bright,
and fresh looking with no mold or bruises, and fresh green caps (stems). The caps
should be bright green, fresh looking and fully attached. Berries should be
dry and clean; usually medium to small berries have better eating quality
than large ones.
Strawberries do not ripen after they have been harvested, so choose
strawberries that have been picked fully ripened. They should have bright
red color, natural shine and fresh looking green caps.
Select berries that are in dry; unstained containers (stained containers may
indicate over soft berries that are not freshly picked). Mold on berries
spreads quickly - Never leave a moldy berry next to a good one.
Fresh Strawberries (approximate):
Basket of strawberries refers to
the market package. 1 tray or flat of strawberries = 12 baskets or pints.
1 small basket = 1 pint strawberries
= 12 large strawberries = 24 medium strawberries = 36 small strawberries.
1 pint = 2 to 2.5 cups sliced
(1/4-inch thick slices) strawberries.
1 pint = 1.25 to 1.5 cups pureed
Frozen Strawberries (approximate):
20-ounce bag frozen whole
strawberries = 4 cups whole strawberries = 2.5 cup sliced
strawberries = 2.25 cups pureed (mashed)
10-ounce package frozen sliced
sweetened strawberries = 1.25 cups frozen strawberries in syrup.
Storing and Preparing Strawberries:
Use the berries as soon as
possible as strawberries ripen no further once picked.
Before using or storing, sort through the strawberries and separate the
soft ones from the firm, fully ripe berries. Discard any mushy or
Leave the caps (stems) on the
strawberries until ready to eat or use in your recipes.
For best flavor, do not wash the
strawberries until you are ready to eat or use them. Moisture is
the enemy when it comes to storing strawberries.
As strawberries tastes best at
room temperature, remove from the refrigerator approximately 1
hour before they are to be used.
Store fresh strawberries in a colander in the refrigerator. This allows the cold air
to circulate around them. Do not cover them.
Remove caps from strawberries only after washing
(the caps keep the water from breaking down the texture and
flavor inside the strawberries).
for serving by rinsing with caps still attached under a gentle spray of
cool water; pat dry with a paper towel. Wash the berries just before you plan to
use them. Tip: To keep strawberries from absorbing large quantities of water when
washing them, place in a salad spinner to remove excess water.
the green caps (stems) with a light twisting motion or with the
point of a paring knife. It’s as easy as a twist of the wrist.
You can also purchase a
strawberry de-stemmer/huller at your
local kitchen store or online (see photo on left).
Strawberries are not only good to eat, they are also "good for us." They
are an especially tasty source of vitamin C (ascorbic acid). In fact,
one cup of fresh strawberries provides about 88 milligrams of ascorbic
acid, which more than meets the Recommended Daily Dietary allowance of
45 milligrams for the average adult. Vitamin C is well retained when the
strawberries are handled carefully. Capping, injuring, cutting, or
juicing, however, will reduce the vitamin content.
Strawberries are low in calories: one cup of unsweetened strawberries
has only 55 calories. So if you are on a reducing diet, use strawberries
to add flavor, food value, and pleasure to meals. You can even eat some
as a between-meals snack.
One 140 gram serving of
eight (8) medium-sized strawberries has:
are also rich in vitamins A and C, folic acid, selenium,
calcium polyphenols (such as ellagic, ferulic and coumaric
acids, quercitin, anthocyanins and phytosterols). They
contribute 29% of your Daily Value of manganese.
140% of the
Daily Value for vitamin C
12% of the
Daily Value for dietary fiber
Only 7 grams
of sugar (lowest among the top-selling fruits)
are fat-free and salt free - no fat - no cholesterol - no
are low-calorie. A one-cup serving (about 8 to 10
medium-sized berries) contains only 45 calories
Vitamin C (mg)
Freezing Strawberries - How To Freeze Strawberries
Cooperative Extension Service, College of Agriculture
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
When you have more strawberries than you can eat or when strawberries can be
obtained at a reasonable cost, freeze them to eat later. For freshly made
strawberry 'am at any time of the year, freeze berries and then make the jam
at your convenience.
Strawberries are easy to freeze. You can use a dry-sugar or a syrup pack.
The dry-sugar pack is especially easy and gives the best flavor and color
for sliced or crushed berries. For whole frozen berries a syrup pack is
recommended because it produces a plump, well-shaped berry after thawing.
For special sugar-free diets, strawberries can be frozen unsweetened, but
they will not be as high in quality as sugar- or syrup-packed berries.
No matter which type of pack you choose to use, follow these general
directions for preparing and packaging strawberries for freezing:
Use only firm, fully ripe berries.
To avoid bruising and soaking the berries, wash only a few at a time in
cold water. colander or
Drain on absorbent paper or in a colander or sieve.
Remove the hulls with the tip of a floating blade peeler.
Chill the fruit in ice water to lower its temperature for fast freezing.
When packaging for freezing:
Do not fill containers completely; allow a head space of
1/2 inch for pints, 1/4 inch for 1/2 pints, and 1 inch for quarts.
Ascorbic acid (vitamin C) may be purchased in crystalline or tablet form
or as a commercial ascorbic acid mixture to help prevent darkening of
foods. If using the crystalline form, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon of ascorbic
acid in each pint of water. For a
dry-sugar pack, mix the ascorbic acid with the sugar. If using tablets,
use 1,500 milligrams per pint; crush the tablets so that they will
dissolve more readily. When using a commercial mixture, follow the
Seal containers and label with the name of the product and the date
Freeze promptly, then store at 0 degree F or below.
Halve, quarter, or slice clean berries into a bowl or shallow pan. If
desired, berries may be crushed rather than sliced.
Sprinkle sugar over berries, using 1/3 to 3/4 cup sugar for each quart
Gently turn berries over and over until the sugar is thoroughly
Package and freeze.
Make a syrup using 1 1/4 cups water to each 1 cup sugar. Dissolve the
sugar in either cold or hot water; if hot water is used, be sure to
chill the syrup before using.
Use about 1/2 to 1/3 cup of syrup for each pint
container. Place whole or sliced berries in containers and cover with
cold syrup. Package and freeze.
Pack whole, sliced, or crushed berries in containers.
Cover whole or sliced berries with water or berry juice. For better
color retention, add ascorbic acid to the water, berry juice, or crushed
berries. Cover crushed berries with their own juice. Package and freeze
as discussed earlier.